For many enthusiasts, restoration of older cars has become a passion. The problem, though, is the sourcing of older panels and parts. If you so happen to have a Nissan project car, this may already be a problem of the past.
With newly developed technologies, Nissan was able to program robots to produce parts out of sheet steel. This breakthrough can then enable the machines to make replacement parts for discontinued models and make them more widely available for customers.
The standard for production is by way of developing and making dies for stamped parts. If an old car has become outdated or discontinued, such dies (or molds) most likely cease to exist as well. This new technique, though, involves two synchronized robots working from opposite sides of a steel sheet, using diamond-coated tools to gradually shape the steel. By placing robots and tools on opposite sides of a steel sheet, they can create more difficult and detailed shapes. That means there is no more need for stamping as raw sheets of metal can now be “molded” into the desired shape and panel/part.
The new technique was made possible thanks to the production engineering expertise at Nissan’s Production Engineering Research and Development Center, along with advancements in materials technology by Nissan’s Research Division.
But really, there is more to it than simply making car parts. Nissan, being embattled as they are, wants to highlight their capabilities of catering to their customers who have their older-model cars through these three breakthroughs:
・The development of advanced programs capable of controlling both robots with a high degree of dimensional accuracy, enabling the formation of detailed convex and concave shapes.
・The application of a mirrored diamond coating to tools, reducing friction while eliminating the need for lubrication. This has numerous benefits, including consistency of surface quality and low-cost, environmentally friendly operation.
・The generation of optimized pathfinding logic for robots, drawing on the ample expertise and press-forming simulation techniques ordinarily used by Nissan’s production engineering teams. This enabled Nissan to achieve high quality results early in the development process.
Let’s admit that Nissan’s cult following, from the Silvias to the GT-Rs, can benefit greatly from the said technology. And it’s good to hear that Nissan hopes to commercialize the proprietary technique, and plans to continue pursuing advancements in mass production while also dedicating R&D resources to honing its flexible low-volume production techniques.
If they can sustain this effort, in the Philippines alone, fanboys and fangirls will definitely see far better value in their old cars. And let’s face it: every company needs the extra revenue however which way they can make it. At least they can be sure that the Philippines is one country that is looking for a way to be able to properly rebuild their cars to being factory-fresh again.